RADIO NATIONAL DRIVE
TUESDAY, 18 AUGUST 2015
SUBJECT/S: Marriage equality; Dyson Heydon; EPBC Act.
PATRICIA KARVELAS: We're joined in our Parliament House studio by Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh – hi Andrew.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: G'day Patricia.
KARVELAS: And the New South Wales Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos. Hi Arthur.
ARTHUR SINODINOS, SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES: Hi Patricia.
KARVELAS: Let's start with you, Arthur Sinodinos: why do frontbenchers need the riot act read to them? What's going wrong?
SINODINOS: Because last week we had a process of discussion in the party room on same-sex marriage which came to a disposition, which later became a decision, about a process for allowing the people to have a vote on this in the next Parliament. So then what happened afterwards is that various frontbenchers were out there, before there'd been a Cabinet discussion, giving their view about the form in which this consultation of the people should occur. What the Prime Minister was indicating, I think, in the party room today was that this is not the appropriate way to go about it and with the Canning by-election coming our way very soon, we need to make sure we are speaking with one voice and restoring Cabinet government so we can get on with focusing on the things that matter most to the people of Australia.
KARVELAS: But I've got to ask, Arthur Sinodinos, is there a position? You don't really have one yet – there’s only a sort of half position.
SINODINOS: The undertaking the Prime Minister gave to the party room was to come back with a process after consulting the Cabinet, and bring it to the party room in the next little while. I think that means, probably, when we're next sitting again.
KARVELAS: Do you find that untidy yourself? Is it difficult to navigate a party line that doesn't exist yet?
SINODINOS: Well I suppose this is where frontbenchers had a bit of a get-out-of-jail card last week is that in the absence of a Cabinet discussion and agreement, and therefore being bound by Cabinet solidarity, they had licence to canvass differing options publicly. But I think it's good now that we have a process to bring this to heel and I imagine that